A Double Blessing
I think we’re all troubled by the world of hurt in which we live. On the heels of a slow three-year COVID-19 retreat we’re suddenly facing serious environmental news – major rivers drying up (Germany’s Rhine, the Colorado in the US, the Yangtze in China, and even the Jordan in Israel), horrific pollution of “sacred” rivers in Nepal and India, scorching heat in Europe and the UK, wildfires and drought threatening global food supply, flooding and earthquake… to say nothing of the universal collateral damage of the ongoing war in Ukraine. As is often the case in history Africa seems to be bearing the brunt of much of this adversity.
As a valued partner in WOW’s ministry you’re committed to bringing some healing to the beleaguered “least of these” as Jesus put it. Because you care I’d like to bring you an update on the recent challenges of our African and Indian ministries and what your prayer and giving is accomplishing.
As is the case everywhere costs have escalated. Fuel prices have doubled, porridge is up 81%, bars of soap are up 300%, while the local currency (the Kwacha) has been devalued by 25%. These increases directly impact the Home Based Care (HBC) of thousands of at-risk orphans and widows. And the “lowest of the low”, elderly widows, are suffering the most.
Yet there has been an increase in local church volunteers who have initiated a program linking young Christian teens and adults with what they’re calling “surrogate grannies” so that these senior souls will be comforted and cared for.
What’s more our “Home of Mercy” in Lilongwe is expanding. YOU responded generously to our Matching Fund appeal to build added facilities for this vital safe house compound for young widows and at-risk girl orphans who’ve been sexually abused. And, to further encourage you, our champions “Somebody Cares” report that their evangelism outreach has never been greater. It’s dark out there but SC is lighting a candle in 35,000 humble homes.
My wife Kathy and I began WOW’s ministry 22 years ago, responding to the ravages of the HIV&AIDS pandemic in South Africa. We’ve been engaged there ever since, even as we’ve expanded to Zambia, Malawi, India, and most recently Ukraine.
Our ministry champion in SA is “Cross Connect” who has established an effective ministry in an “irregular settlement” (read squatter camp). With strong support from a partner church, WOW has recently funded the purchase of a large home to be a safe house for orphans and widows in duress called “House Nehemiah”. Much needed renovations are almost complete. They’re already flooded with desperate calls for help. It’s such a privilege, and responsibility, to be the Lord’s hands and feet for these precious souls.
WOW has a significant signature in Zambia comprised of two champion ministries.“Impact Community Outreach” (ICO) in Kabwe is centrally located in the nation with a semi-urban/rural HBC ministry to hundreds of HIV&AIDS and COVID-19 afflicted orphans and widows. All costs have doubled, in some cases tripled, during the COVID pandemic.When the local clinics prescribe medications there’s often no drugs to fill the prescriptions, and when there are drugs there’s no money to purchase them. So ICO relies on WOW to help fund those vital meds.The latest news is a bit disturbing: there’s a sudden resurgence of drug resistant TB (tuberculosis). Much prayer for protection of the vulnerable needed. Nevertheless ICO is soldiering on with more impact than ever in its history. All in Jesus’ name…
Our other Zambian champion ministry is CHRESO (from a Greek word “crezo” – “need”).Their work is comprehensive and national in scope. WOW helps support their work with orphans and widows afflicted with HIV. Our engagement with CHRESO is both urban with a clinic in Lusaka for those living with HIV, and rural via mobile clinics in impoverished villages. The need is relentless. Costs have doubled.
Due to a recent governmental crackdown on Christian charities there is little that can be said in terms of the name and location of our champion ministry in India.Yet there is great progress in spite of the adversity. Our ministry there has just increased its reach to the number of orphans and widows suffering from both HIV and COVID-19 complications and they have recently included two unreached people groups who are considered sub if not non-human by Indians: Gypsies and “Snake Catchers”(!).The Gypsies are homeless and the Snake Catchers are outcasts as they catch venomous snakes to protect rural villagers.Talk about the “least of these”! Their costs, like our other champion ministries, have doubled.
As you know WOW has been helping fund the feeding needs of hundreds of widows and orphans as they flee the war and are temporarily housed in churches that have become refugee centers.We are only a small player in this massive crisis but by God’s grace we, and YOU, are making a difference. We need to double our support.
A Double Cost requires a Double Blessing!
I’m calling on you, especially if you’re a monthly donor, to consider increasing or even doubling your gift to WOW at least for the short term. We don’t expect the COVID pandemic in Africa and India nor the war in Ukraine to last indefinitely. But between now and then, at this very vulnerable time,WOW is committed to meeting the need “according to God’s riches in glory”.
Please do your best as always.
Jim Cantelon – President
WOW – Working for Orphans & Widows